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Literature / Star Wars: Blade Squadron

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"Blade Squadron" is a two-part short story written by David J. Williams and Mark S. Williams that appeared in Star Wars Insider 149 and Star Wars Insider 150, which were released on April 22 and June 10, 2014, respectively. Part one was later posted on the official Star Wars website on August 21, 2015, with part two scheduled to appear online in early September 2015.

It focus on Blade Squadron, a unit of A-Wing and B-Wing pilots of varying degrees of experience and skill during the Battle of Endor and their attempt to destroy the Star Destroyer Devastator, under the command of Admiral Jhared Montferrat, in order to clear the way for General Lando Calrissian's fighter wing to attack the second Death Star.

Accompanying the story is several images drawn by Chris Trevas, depicting some of the events of the story. "Blade Squadron" also has the distinction of being the first story set in the new Star Wars Expanded Universe following the Continuity Reboot in April 2014. A sequel entitled "Blade Squadron: Zero Hour" was released on September 8, 2015.

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This short story contains the following tropes:

  • Ace Pilot: On the Rebel's side, Wing Commander Adon Fox (himself an excellent pilot) notes that Gina Moonsong is one of the best pilots he has ever seen, and may even be nearly as skilled as Wedge Antilles. Now if only he could get her to work with the rest of the squadron as a team. Lieutenant Braylen Stramm is also noted to be an expert pilot.
    • For the Imperials, Commander Gradd is said to be almost as good as Darth Vader, and he shoots down several members of Blade Squadron before engaging in a starfighter duel with Fox. He badly damages Fox's A-Wing, but gets outmaneuvered and shot down.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: What B-wing bombing runs are designed to do: attack a weak point on a Star Destroyer and cause a chain reaction that will destroy the vessel. They just have to get past all the starfighters defending the ship, plus the turbolaser bombardments. Blade Squadron succeeds in destroying the Devastaor by hitting the weakest point of the shielding over the hyperdrive, which overloads it and sets off a chain reaction that destroys the ship. Of course, only four fighters from the squadron survive the attack.
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  • Bad Boss: Admiral Montferrat, in keeping with proud Imperial tradition. He served under Vader when the Devastator was his flagship, and learned how to keep a crew in line from him (although he privately admits to himself how terrified he was of Vader and was relieved when he moved his flagship over to the Executor). When the officer monitoring the hyperdirve begins panicking, Montferrat shoots him out of annoyance before going over to his station to see what the fuss was about - turns out Blade Squadron scored a direct hit on the hyperdrive, and it was exploding and cause a chain reaction all across the ship.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Between Gina Moonsong and Braylen Stramm, although they are together by the time the story starts and are simply keeping up the act in public.
  • Big Bad: Admiral Montferrat, as commander of the ship Blade Squadron is trying to destroy.
  • Blood from the Mouth: Fox tastes blood in the back of his mouth after his fight with Gradd, indicating that he has some internal injuries from all the damage his starfighter took.
  • The Cameo: The only film character to appear is Admiral Ackbar, who Stramm contacts at the end to inform that the Devastator is destroyed and that the path is clear for General Calrissian's squadron to attack the Death Star.
  • Comic-Book Fantasy Casting: Admiral Montferrat is drawn like Mads Mikkelsen as Le Chiffre in Casino Royale (2006).
  • Commanding Coolness: Commander Adon Fox, the leader of Blade Squadron who is regarded as a first-rate commander.
  • Crusading Widower: Commander Fox is extremely pleased when he realizes that the ship his squadron is assigned to destroy is the Devastator, the same ship responsible for destroying the transport his wife was on at the Battle of Hoth.
  • Defector from Decadence: Lietuent Braylen Stramm is a former Imperial, having deserted from his post on Naboo and joined the Rebellion a year prior to the Battle of Endor, after having enough of the oppressive orders handed down by his superiors.
  • The Dragon: Commander Gredd, the commander of Devastator's two Tie-interceptor squadrons.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Imperial Admiral Jhared Montferrat is introduced being annoyed by the screams and pleas for mercy coming from the four men he just ordered to be spaced on the mere suspicion they were Rebel spies.
  • Ejection Seat: After learning that Fox's fighter is crippled, Moonsong encourages him to eject so he can get picked up, but he informs her that his ejection seat is damaged and won't operate properly.
  • Empty Shell: Fox considers himself one after the loss of his wife at Hoth.
  • Face Death with Dignity: When realizing that his ship is about to be destroyed and that the Empire is losing the Battle of Endor, Montferrat calmly takes off his gloves and waits for the end to come.
  • Fiery Redhead: Moonsong. She is very energetic and eager to engage the Imperials, and is disappointed that Blade Squadron is initially assigned to rearguard duty during the attack on the Death Star.
  • Foreshadowing: When listening to the screams of the smugglers he is having Thrown Out the Airlock, Montferrat thinks to himself that if he ever is facing his own death, he will do so with dignity.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Montferrat has a lot of scarring on the left side of his around and across his eye, which he lost the use of in whatever injury he sustained.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: One member of Blade Squadron turns around and flies straight at the pursuing Tie interceptors, taking them by surprise and destroying three of them before being killed by Gradd.
  • I Will Only Slow You Down: After the Devastator is destroyed, Fox orders the remaining fighters in Blade Squadron to leave him behind and rejoin the rest of the Rebel fighters rather than try to rescue him from his crippled fighter. The story ends with him still alive, but with little hope for rescue before his injuries kill him or his fighter falls apart.
  • Living Legend: How the Rebel pilots view Luke Skywalker and Wedge Antilles after they survived the first Death Star run.
  • Lower-Deck Episode: Shows what one of the minor Rebel squadrons who were not involved in the Death Star attack were doing at the Battle of Endor.
  • Mighty Glacier: The B-wings: being dedicated bombers, they carry payloads capable of destroying capital ships, but are not very maneuverable. They rely on the A-wings for protection during their bombing run on the Devastator.
  • Mildly Military: How the Rebels, particularly Moonsong, operate. This somewhat annoys Stramm since he is an ex-Imperial and used to doing things by-the-book.
  • New Meat: Fox despairs that most of Blade Squadron are rookies who have little training or flight time. Even Moonsong, an experienced smuggler, has less than fifty hours of flight time in a B-wing prior to the Battle of Endor. Unsurprisingly, most of the squad gets slaughtered when going up against two squads of experienced Tie interceptor pilots and a Star Destroyer.
  • No Ending: The story ends with Stramm leading Moonsong and Fanty to join the other Rebel fighters assaulting the Death Star and the rest of the Imperial fleet, leaving behind Fox in his badly damaged A-wing after he refused any help and ordered them to go assist in the battle. Luckily, the Rebels win the battle in the end.
  • Number Two: Lieutenant Braylen Stramm is second-in-command of Blade Squadron and takes over command after Fox's A-wing is badly damaged.
  • Old School Dogfight: The A-wings and couple B-wings of Blade Squadron get involved in one with the two squadrons of Tie interceptors protecting the Devastator while the rest of the B-wings begin their bombing run. The Rebel fighters wisely choose to do this after closing in on the Star Destroyer at the start of the battle so that the Imperial gunners can't risk firing on them without hitting the Tie fighters, since the two groups are so mixed up. Admiral Montferrat has to angrily order one of his gunners to stop shooting when he nearly destroys two of their fighters.
  • Reformed Criminal: Moonsong used to be a smuggler operating out of Coruscant before quitting and joining the Rebellion.
  • Secret Relationship: Between Moonsong and Braylen Stramm. The Rebels don't have any rules regarding fraternization between the ranks, but they keep it hidden anyway. Fox picked up on it immediately, although he doesn't do anything about it or let them know he knows.
  • Smug Snake: Both Admiral Montferrat and Commander Gradd, although Montferrat amusingly considers Gradd an arrogant annoying kiss-ass. They are extremely dismissive of the Rebels and consider it impossible for them to be a true threat to the Empire or themselves. This arrogance gets Gradd killed, and Montferrat decides to die with his ship rather than escape when he realizes the Rebels are winning the battle.
  • Straight for the Commander: Gradd's favored tactic, using a comm scanner to determine which Rebel starfighter has the most communications traffic going to and from it, indicating the squadron leader, and then taking them out to break the spirit of the other Rebels. Unfortunately for him, Adon Fox was a even-match for his skills.
  • Suicide Mission: When Blade Squadron is sent against the Devastator, all the pilots pretty much think they are going to die and just want to complete the mission. Amazingly, three of them (Moonsong, Stramm, and Fanty) do survive, and Fox's status at the end is left ambiguous.
  • Thrown Out the Airlock: On the way to join the Imperial fleet at Endor, the Devastator captures four smugglers who Montferrat believes might be Rebel spies, despite their protests. Since he is in a hurry and thinks he and his crew don't need any distractions in the upcoming battle, he decides to space them. He gets rather annoyed by their screaming in terror as they get led to the airlock.
  • Uptight Loves Wild: Stramm is known for being a by-the-book officer who still abides by the discipline he got in the Imperial military, but gets into a relationship with Moonsong, who most definitely does not like playing by the rulebook.


Alternative Title(s): Blade Squadron

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